Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):
DARPA SubT Urban Circuit – February 18-27, 2020 – Olympia, Wash., USA
HRI 2020 – March 23-26, 2020 – Cambridge, U.K.
ICARSC 2020 – April 15-17, 2020 – Ponta Delgada, Azores
ICRA 2020 – May 31-4, 2020 – Paris, France
ICUAS 2020 – June 9-12, 2020 – Athens, Greece
CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – Moscow, Russia
Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.
Since Honda decided to stop further development of the beloved robot Asimo, attention has turned to other companies building advanced humanoids. One of them is UBTECH, which appears to be making steady progress with its Walker robot. At CES early this year, the company showed Walker pushing a cart, pouring a drink, standing on one foot, and even bending its body backward like a yogi.
We had such an amazing time at CES 2020 showing you the major upgrades we’ve made to Walker. With improved flexibility, stability, precision, and speed, Walker has come a long way since its initial debut at CES a few years back.
Walker is an intelligent Humanoid Service Robot designed with outstanding hardware, excellent motion ability and AI interactive performance – the most advanced robot UBTECH has ever created.
But UBTECH wasn’t done. It also demoed its service robot Cruzr and indoor inspection robot AIMBOT.
Cruzr, UBTECH’s enterprise service robot, was on full display at CES 2020!
Cruzr is a cloud-based intelligent humanoid robot that provides a new generation of service for a variety of industrial applications. Cruzr helps enhance and personalize the guest experience in consumer facing establishments such as retail, financial institutions, and hospitality.
AT CES 2020, we showcased AIMBOT, an autonomous indoor monitoring robot. AIMBOT is used for intelligent and accurate indoor inspection, efficient inventory management, visitor verification, preventing safety hazards and more.
[ UBTECH ]
Generating complex movements in redundant robots like humanoids is usually done by means of multi-task controllers based on quadratic programming, where a multitude of tasks is organized according to strict or soft priorities.
Time-consuming tuning and expertise are required to choose suitable task priorities, and to optimize their gains.
Here, we automatically learn the controller configuration (soft and strict task priorities and Convergence Gains), looking for solutions that track a variety of desired task trajectories efficiently while preserving the robot’s balance.
We use multi-objective optimization to compare and choose among Pareto-optimal solutions that represent a trade-off of performance and robustness and can be transferred onto the real robot.
We experimentally validate our method by learning a control configuration for the iCub humanoid, to perform different whole-body tasks, such as picking up objects, reaching and opening doors.
[ Larsen/Inria ]
This week, roboticist and comedian Naomi Fitter wrote a fantastic guest post on her experiences with robot comedy. Here’s one of the performances she’s created, with her Nao humanoid talking and singing with comedian Sarah Hagen.
Sketch comedy duo act including the talented human/comedian Sarah Hagen and the Oregon State University SHARE Lab’s illustrious NAO robot.
[ Naomi Fitter ]
This work is part of Tim Hojnik’s PhD project, a partnership between CSIRO’s Data61 Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group and the Queensland University of Technology.
[ CSIRO ]
Who’s ready for Superbowl LIV!? The Gripper Guys are.
[ Soft Robotics ]
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany, have designed and fabricated an untethered microrobot that can slip along either a flat or curved surface in a liquid when exposed to ultrasound waves. Its propulsion force is two to three orders of magnitude stronger than the propulsion force of natural microorganisms such as bacteria or algae. Additionally, it can transport cargo while swimming. The acoustically propelled robot hence has significant potential to revolutionize the future minimally invasive treatment of patients.
[ Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems ]
Did you know Kuka have a giant linear robot? Now you do!
The three-axis linear robot KR 80L has Cartesian axes which are operated via the robot controller. The development of the new KR 80L benefited greatly from KUKA experience gained from many handling applications and our expertise as one of the leading suppliers of intelligent automation solutions.
The modular design allows workspaces from 0.75m³ up to 225m³ to be implemented, making the KUKA linear robot a safe investment for your automation. Minimal interference contours below the robot mean that it is ideally suited for linking work processes by carrying out loading and unloading, palletizing, handling or transfer tasks, for example. The use of proven, series-produced robotic drive components ensures utmost performance and reliability.
[ Kuka ]
Apparently Promobot brought one of its humanoids to New York City’s Bryant Park to help screen people for the coronavirus. NYC officers promptly ejected the robot from the park for lacking a permit, but not before a little robot dance party.
LOVOT, which we’ve featured on our Robot Gift Guide, is very cute—at least when it has its furry skin on.
Unfortunately we don’t speak Japanese to understand the full presentation, but we applaud the fact that the company is willing to discuss—and show—what’s inside the robot. Given the high rate of consumer robot failures, more sharing and transparency could really help the industry.
[ Robot Start ]
Drones have the potential to change the African continent by revolutionizing the way deliveries are made, blood samples are processed, farmers grow their crops and more. To tackle the many challenges faced by Africa, the World Bank and partners convened the African Drone Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, from February 5-7, 2020. To welcome the audience of engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, development experts and regulators, the World Bank and ADF team created this video.
We continue to scale our fully driverless experience -- with no one behind the wheel -- for our early riders in Metro Phoenix. We invited Arizona football legend Larry Fitzgerald to take a ride with our Waymo Driver. Watch all of Larry’s reactions in this video of his full, unedited ride.
[ Waymo ]
The humanoid Robot ARMAR-6 grasps unknown objects in a cluttered box autonomously.
[ H2T KIT ]
Quanser R&D engineers have been testing different bumper designs and materials to protect the QCar in collisions. This is a scale-speed equivalent of 120km/hr!
[ Quanser ]
Drone sales have exploded in the past few years, filling the air with millions of new aircraft. Simple modifications to these drones by criminals and terrorists have left people, privacy and physical and intellectual property totally exposed.
Fortem Technologies innovates to stay ahead of the threat, keeping pace with escalating drone threats worldwide.
With more than 3,650 captures at various attack vectors and speeds, DroneHunter is the leading, world-class interceptor drone.
[ Fortem Technologies ] via [ Engadget ]
This is an interesting application of collaborative robots at this car bumper manufacturer, where they mounted industrial cameras on FANUC cobots to perform visual quality-control checks. These visual inspections happen throughout the assembly line, with the robots operating right next to the human workers.
Discovering the many benefits a FANUC collaborative robot solution can provide.
Flex-N-Gate, a supplier of bumpers, exterior trim, lighting, chassis assemblies and other automotive products, uses inspection systems at their Ventra Ionia, Michigan plant to ensure product quality.
To help improve these processes, reduce costs and save floor space, Flex-N-Gate turned to FANUC for a collaborative robot solution, leveraging FANUC America’s 24/7/365 service network to support their cobot systems for a completely successful integration.
[ FANUC ]
In this video we present results on autonomous subterranean exploration inside an abandoned underground mine using the ANYmal legged robot. ANYmal is utilizing the proposed Graph-based Exploration Path Planner which ensures the efficient exploration of the complex underground environment, while simultaneously avoiding obstacles and respecting traversability constraints.
The designed planner first operates by engaging its local exploration mode with which guides the robot to explore along a mine corridor. When the system reaches a local dead-end, the global planning layer of the method is engaged and provides a new path to guide the robot towards a selected frontier of the explored space. The robot is thus re-positioned to this frontier and upon arrival the local planning mode is enabled again in order to enable the continuation of the exploration mission. Finally, provided a time budget for the mission, the global planner identifies the point that the robot must be commanded to return-to-home and provides an associated reference path. The presented mission is completely autonomous.
Do all Roborock vacuums rock? Vacuum vlog Vacuum Wars did some extensive vacuuming tests to find out.
After testing and reviewing all of the robot vacuums Roborock has released so far, I think its time for me to do a big comparison video showing the differences their various models as well as choosing my favorite Roborock models in 3 different categories.
[ Vacuum Wars ]
Highlights from Lex Fridman’s interview with Jim Keller on Tesla, Elon Musk, Autopilot, and more.
Jim Keller is a legendary microprocessor engineer, having worked at AMD, Apple, Tesla, and now Intel. He’s known for his work on the AMD K7, K8, K12 and Zen microarchitectures, Apple A4, A5 processors, and co-author of the specifications for the x86-64 instruction set and HyperTransport interconnect.
[ Lex Fridman ]
Take a trip down the microworld as roboticists Paul McEuen and Marc Miskin explain how they design and mass-produce microrobots the size of a single cell, powered by atomically thin legs -- and show how these machines could one day be "piloted" to battle crop diseases or study your brain at the level of individual neurons.
[ TED Talks ]
Erico Guizzo is the digital product manager at IEEE Spectrum. An IEEE Member, he is an electrical engineer by training and has a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.